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The Trump Hangover That Won’t Go Away

Has nine years of breathing in number 45’s exhaust finally taken its political toll?

There has been a drastic reduction in progressive fervor to put Donald Trump out to pasture in 2024. Despite the stark reminder of the former president’s legal problems, the January 6 incident, and talk both brash and bold, long gone are the folks, armed with hand-painted signs at the ready, protesting the man at every turn and on every issue.

When Trump surprised everyone by winning the 2016 election, progressives organized loudly, donations to candidates and causes rose, and the political landscape was forever altered. By osmosis, it seemed, well-coordinated protests erupted; in two years, America had the likes of radical progressives taking over the House of Representatives.

Where did that drive, that energy go? Has nine years of breathing in number 45’s exhaust finally taken its political toll on what was once a forceful and dominant movement?

Teflon Don

Perhaps the progressive machine has faced the hard, cold truth: Donald Trump is going nowhere. Many Never-Trumpers have also petered out and decided the fight was futile at best. Trump’s opponent, Nikki Haley, did not attend the Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend. Possibly because event organizers are “ All in for Trump.” Haley is not backing out, though, and has promised to run at least through Super Tuesday.

“We’re kind of, like, crises-ed out,” said Shannon Caseber, a security guard in Pittsburgh who spoke to a prominent New York newspaper on the subject of progressive malaise. She also referred to the potential rematch as a “dumpster fire.” Caseber continued: “Any sense of urgency that we had with the 2020 election — I think it’s still there in the sense that no one wants Trump to be president, at least for Democrats, but it’s exhausting.”

Mary Ming Francis, a University of Washington political scientist, concurs:

“I think that there’s a sense of survivorship. Before, it was like an existential threat, like, ‘Oh, my God, this is so beyond our imagination of what is possible. And we have to write checks.’ But now, some people will tell themselves that they know what to expect, that it’s only four years. And they’ve lived through this before.”

It’s as if they see the writing on the wall and are too tired to care. It will be difficult to overcome that “survivalist mode” as people can’t afford gas, food, transportation, or a day or two of vacation. That is another type of exhaustion that energizes voters to turn things around.

GettyImages-2011691419 Donald Trump

Donald Trump (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

And it’s not just the progressives feeling the funk. Anti-Trump Republicans are worn out for trying to swim upstream for nine years. “Exhaustion is underlying the entire attitude toward our presidential election,” said Whit Ayres, a GOP pollster. “When you’ve got two people that are opposed by 70% of Americans who want a different choice, it creates frustration, anxiety and discouragement.”

A Pew Research Center survey went further and interviewed all sides of the aisle, finding that 65% of Americans were overwhelmed and exhausted when even thinking about politics. People appear to be avoiding political news unless a headlining story emerges.

Trump Polls High/ Biden in the Basement

MAGA voters have memories like the Republican mascot elephant. It wasn’t long ago that illegal immigration was tightening, the economy was strong, and no Eastern European country dared invade its neighbor. Peace, tenuous though it was, reigned.

That sentiment is reflected in the recent CNN poll that found Republicans were “extremely motivated” to vote. Contrasting, Democrats felt “dread” and “exhausted,” according to a recent Yahoo News/ YouGov poll.

And what strikes fear in the back-room operatives of Joe Biden’s re-election campaign is that Trump is much more seasoned and able to handle what’s lobbed in his direction. When he took the oath of office, Trump was out of his element. This will not be the case if he ascends again in 2025.

The Heritage Foundation has prepared a coalition of conservative partnerships to be ready for the 2025 Presidential Transition Project. The implication is the next president will be a Republican, and they will be there – united – to ensure success. The coalition is over 100 organizations strong. As Project Director Paul Dans explains:

“This is a historic moment for the conservative movement. From the time we launched this project, we knew it was critical for conservatives to put aside differences and come together if we are to succeed in restoring our federal government to one ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people.’”

United is the keyword. No longer will groups tolerate the internal disruption of what the people want in a candidate. The Conservative Political Action Conference made it clear there was no room at the inn except for the people’s choice and front-runner. The GOP will likely rise or fall with candidate Trump in November. The electorate does not seem to accept anyone else as the presidential nominee. While some have noxious gas poisoning by breathing in Trump’s exhaust, it has had seemingly the reverse effect on most of the Republican Party.

Read More From Sarah Cowgill

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